Sometimes there’s just nothing you can do but sit back and accept a loss. There’s no one to blame, nowhere to point fingers. You just get beat. It happens. Sixty-something times a year too. Chris Sale and the White Sox cruised to a 3-2 win over the Yankees on Thursday night.
A Great Sale
It was pretty clear the Yankees were in a tough night offensively as soon as the lineup was posted, but I’m not sure even the ’27 Yankees had much of a chance against Sale on Thursday. The lanky southpaw was as sharp as ever despite spending the last month on the disabled list with an elbow issue. He struck out ten in six innings and did not allow a base-runner until Zoilo Almonte singled to center with two outs in the sixth. The same Zoilo Almonte who hit .132/.214/.158 against lefties in Triple-A this year. Baseball is weird sometimes.
The Yankees actually did a good job driving up Sale’s pitch count early in the game — manager Robin Ventura said his ace was going to be limited to 100 pitches or so, though he yanked him after 86 — forcing him to throw 49 pitches in the first three innings. When working the count produced nothing, but they started swinging at pitches in the zone earlier in the count, and that didn’t work either. Had he been perfectly healthy and not been limited to a pitch count, I’m pretty sure Sale would have gone the distance and struck out 14 or 15. He was on top of his game.
David Phelps gave the Yankees exactly what they needed. He gave them both quality and quantity innings, allowing just two runs in seven innings of work. Both runs scored in the second inning, after the slugger formerly know as Paul Konerko doubled with two outs. Alejandro De Aza dunked a bloop ground rule double to right — Almonte came up juuust short on his dive and I’m pretty sure Brett Gardner would have caught that ball — to score Konerko, then Adam Eaton flared a single to left to score De Aza. All with two outs. Yuck.
Aside from that, Phelps was pretty awesome. He retired 16 of the final 18 batters he faced and struck out eight, finishing the night with a season-high 104 pitches. The bullpen got worked pretty hard in Wednesday’s extra innings win over the Cubs, so I’m pretty sure Phelps was going to be left out there to throw about a hundred pitches no matter what. The rotation is a big question mark behind Masahiro Tanaka right now and it would be great if Phelps could give the Yankees something like this every fifth day. Maybe not two runs in seven innings, that’s a high standard, but pitch deep into the game and not let things get out of control. Tough luck loss.
For the second straight day, the Yankees rallied for two runs in the ninth. Too bad Alfredo Aceves spotted the White Sox a third run in the bottom of the eight. A double by Gordon Beckham and a single by Adam Dunn did the trick. He also managed to walk the unwalkable Alexei Ramirez. That turned out to be the game-winning run after Mark Teixeira singled in a pair in the top of the ninth. The tying run was on first when Alfonso Soriano struck out looking to end the game. The pitch was rather high, especially by current strike zone standards (PitchFX plot), and heck, catcher Tyler Flowers didn’t even catch it, but home plate ump Tom Woodring called it a strike so a strike it was. Soriano’s doing a great Vernon Wells impression this year, don’t you think?
The Yankees only had three hits on the night because Sale was dynamite — singles by Almonte, Teixeira, and pinch-hitter Ichiro Suzuki. After going without an extra-base hit for the first time this season on Wednesday — last team to have an extra-base hit-less game! — they did it again on Thursday. Baseball, huh? Derek Jeter drew the team’s only walk in that ninth inning rally. The Yankees struck out 13 times as a team, including three times each by Soriano and Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury’s been pretty bad of late but I can’t give him grief for whiffing three times against Sale.
Other than that … at least the rest of the bullpen got the night off? Not the most eventful game of the year. It’s pretty clear Aceves should be the guy to go whenever Michael Pineda gets healthy. Whoever loses their rotation spot to Pineda can talk over as the long man. That 2009 Aceves magic is long, long gone.
The Yankees are now halfway through their six-game stint in Chicago. Hiroki Kuroda and former Yankee Hector Noesi will meet in the second game of this four-game series on Friday night. Chicago’s next three starters can reasonably be considered replacement level, so if they don’t wake up the bats, nothing will.
3B Eric Jagielo (ribcage) has been placed on the High-A DL, according to Nicholas Flammia. He was visited by the trainer in the middle of an at-bat on Tuesday, hit a homer on the very next pitch, then was taken out of the game as a precaution. It’s said to only be a minor issue and he should be back soon. Oh, and in case you missed it earlier, LHP Manny Banuelos (fatigue) will start in five days after playing catch today.
Triple-A Scranton (2-1 loss to Rochester)
- DH Jose Pirela & LF Ramon Flores: both 2-5 — Pirela struck out … Flores doubles, scored a run, whiffed twice, and threw a runner out at second
- RF Adonis Garcia: 0-5 — hitting streak ends at 17 games
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 1-4, 1 BB, 2 K
- 1B Kyle Roller: 2-4, 1 RBI, 2 K
- SS Zelous Wheeler: 2-3, 2 2B, 1 BB
- 2B Dean Anna: 0-4 — in a 6-for-37 (.162) slump
- LHP Matt Tracy: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 12/7 GB/FB — 62 of 97 pitches were strikes (94%)
- RHP Branden Pinder: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GB/FB — seven of eleven pitches were strikes
The Yankees have been a little lucky this year when it comes to the other team missing key players to injuries. Josh Hamilton was hurt both times they played the Angels, Ryan Braun was out when they played the Brewers, and Jose Abreu is out for this four-game series against the White Sox. Unfortunately, ace lefty Chris Sale will come off the disabled list to start tonight’s game for the ChiSox. It looked like he would make one more minor league rehab start just yesterday.
Anyway, the Yankees rallied late and stole a game from the Cubs yesterday, which was good to see considering they burned through their entire bullpen. It happens, but it’s easier to swallow when it happens in a win. David Phelps has not given the Yankees any length since moving into the rotation — no more than 5.1 innings in each of his three starts — but he’s going to have to soak up some innings tonight. At last six would be nice. Dare I even say seven? Here is the White Sox lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- DH Derek Jeter
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- RF Alfonso Soriano
- 3B Yangervis Solarte
- 2B Brian Roberts
- C John Ryan Murphy
- SS Brendan Ryan
- LF Zoilo Almonte
RHP David Phelps
It’s cool and cloudy on Chicago’s south side, but, unlike New York, there is no rain in the forecast. Tonight’s game is scheduled to start a little after 8pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
Left-hander Manny Banuelos played catch today and had no problem with his sore/fatigued arm, according to Matt Kardos. He will start in five days and be held to either two innings or 35 pitches. Good news, obviously. Seems like Banuelos just ran into a little bit of a dead arm after missing close to two full years following a pair of elbow injuries, including Tommy John surgery. · (4) ·
Cole Tucker | SS
Tucker attends Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix and was the starting shortstop for the gold medal winning Team USA at the 18U World Cup in Taiwan last fall. He’s been very good at several national showcase events this spring. Tucker is committed to Arizona.
Tall and wiry at 6-foot-3 and 165 lbs., Tucker is a switch-hitter who is more advanced and has a better swing from the left side of the plate. He does have bat speed from both sides, however, and he’s more of a contact-oriented gap-to-gap hitter than a power guy. Given his frame, he could certainly add strength and grow into some pop. Tucker runs well and has everything he needs to remain at shortstop long-term — quick first step, strong arm, good hands — there’s just some concern he’ll outgrow the position. Just about everything I’ve read about him referred to him as a gritty, hard-nosed player.
In their latest rankings, Keith Law (subs. req’d), MLB.com, and Baseball America ranked Tucker as the 62nd, 70th, and 83rd best prospect in the draft class, respectively. Switch-hitting shortstops are rather hard to find, but even if he has to drop switch-hitting, Tucker would still remain on the strong side of the platoon. The Yankees have a nice collection of shortstop prospects in the low minors (Abi Avelino, Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada), but teams always want depth at the position. Their first pick is in the second round (55th overall).
The Yankees just wrapped up a two-game series against the Cubs on Chicago’s north side, and now they move down to the south side for a four-game set against the Cubs. Chicago week continues with the team’s first non-interleague series in two weeks. Hooray for the DH.
What Have They Done Lately?
The White Sox dropped last night’s game to the Royals but still took two of three in the series. They have lost eight of their last 13 games and are 23-25 with a -11 run differential overall. That leaves them in fourth place in the top heavy AL Central.
After a scorching hot start to the season, the White Sox have slowed down offensively in recent weeks, but they still sport a team 101 wRC+ and an average of 4.88 runs per game. The Yankees catch a big break because 1B Jose Abreu (140 wRC+) was just placed on the 15-day DL with an ankle problem. He leads baseball with 15 homers. The Yankees will miss Abreu this week after missing Ryan Braun against the Brewers and Josh Hamilton against the Angels. Lucky. The ChiSox also lost OF Avisail Garcia (128 wRC+) to a season-ending shoulder injury a few weeks ago.
Even without Abreu, the White Sox still have a premier power hitter in 1B Adam Dunn (143 wRC+). SS Alexei Ramirez (126 wRC+), 3B Conor Gillaspie (128 wRC+), C Tyler Flowers (113 wRC+), and OF Dayan Viciedo (123 wRC+) have all been very good as well. Gillaspie missed some time with an injury earlier this year. All four of those guys were pretty bad just last season, so they’ve turned it around in a big way early on. 1B Paul Konerko (48 wRC+) is a shell of his former self and started the year on the bench, though Abreu’s injury has pushed him into the lineup full-time at the moment.
2B Gordon Beckham (98 wRC+) has been okay this year, though neither IF Marcus Semien (66 wRC+) nor UTIL Leury Garcia (63 wRC+) has done much with the bat. OF Adam Eaton (92 wRC+) now hits leadoff after OF Alejandro De Aza (41 wRC+) hit in that spot the last few seasons. OF Moises Sierra (22 wRC+) was claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays a few weeks ago to help cover for Garcia’s injury. Backup C Adrian Nieto (107 wRC+) is a Rule 5 Draft pick who made the jump from High-A this year. The White Sox can still hit a little, but there’s no doubt the Yankees catch a break by missing Abreu.
Pitching Matchups (Pitcher GIFS is down temporarily)
Thursday: RHP David Phelps (vs. CWS) vs. LHP Chris Sale (vs. NYY)
Chris Sale, 25, will be activated off the 15-day DL later today and make this start. He missed a little more than a month with a flexor strain in his elbow. I guess we can’t complain with Abreu on the shelf. Sale had a 2.30 ERA (2.32 FIP) in 27.1 innings with an excellent strikeout rate (9.55 K/9 and 27.9 K%), an excellent walk rate (2.30 BB/9 and 6.7 BB%), and an excellent home run rate (0.33 HR/9 and 4.2% HR/FB) before getting hurt. He gets a good amount of grounders (45.5%) and demolishes lefties (.063 wOBA). Righties (.262 wOBA) are a little more successful. A low-to-mid-90s two-seam fastball sets up his upper-70s slider and low-80s changeup. There is always a little uncertainty when a pitcher makes his first start off the DL — Sale did strike out eleven in four shutout innings in his only rehab start — but when healthy, Sale is one of the five best pitchers in all of baseball. He’s a monster.
Friday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (vs. CWS) vs. LHP John Danks (vs. NYY)
You might remember a few years ago that most of his here at RAB talked constantly about trading for the 29-year-old Danks. Then he tore his shoulder capsule and everything changed. The southpaw has a 5.64 ERA (5.10 FIP) in nine starts and 52.2 innings this year with mediocre to bad peripherals: 7.01 K/9 (17.3 K%), 4.44 BB/9 (10.9 BB%), 1.37 HR/9 (10.8% HR/FB), and 37.7% grounders. Both righties (.375 wOBA) and lefties (.340 wOBA) have had their way with him. Danks throws his two and four-seam fastballs in the mid-to-upper-80s post-torn capsule with his cutter a few ticks below that. An upper-70s changeup is his top secondary pitch, though he will throw a handful low-70s curveballs per start as well. Danks was very good a few years ago, but the shoulder injury changes everything. He’s replacement level now.
Saturday: LHP Vidal Nuno (No vs. CWS) vs. RHP Scott Carroll (No vs. NYY)
Carroll, 29, spent parts of eight seasons in the minors before getting his first call to the big leagues earlier this month. His first two starts were very good (two runs in 7.1 innings, two runs in six innings), but the last three have been disasters (six runs in four innings twice, six runs in five innings the other). Carroll has a 6.49 ERA (5.48 FIP) in 26.1 innings with the same number of walks as strikeouts (3.08 per nine and 6.9%). He has gotten ground balls (51.0%), given up some homers (1.03 HR/9 and 9.7% HR/FB), and been smacked around by both righties (.379 wOBA) and lefties (.453 wOBA). Carroll does throw five pitches and they’re pretty much the exact five pitches you’d expect a career minor league journeyman to throw: upper-80s two and four-seamers, low-80s changeups, low-80s sliders, and mid-70s curves. This is essentially a matchup of seventh or eighth starters.
Sunday: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (No vs. CWS) vs. RHP Andre Rienzo (vs. NYY)
The ChiSox have really had to dip into their farm system for arms due to injuries this year, a rarity for them. They’ve consistently been the healthiest team in baseball over the last few seasons. Unlike Carroll, the 25-year-old Rienzo is one of the team’s better prospects, and so far this season he has a 4.00 ERA (5.56 FIP) in 36 innings. The peripherals — 6.25 K/9 (16.0 K%), 4.00 BB/9 (10.3 BB%), 1.50 HR/9 (13.3% HR/FB), and 40.5% — aren’t anything special, and lefties (.347 wOBA) have hit him harder than righties (.270 wOBA). Rienzo throws three fastballs in the upper-80s (two-seamer, four-seamer, cutter) as well as an upper-70s curveball, plus he’ll mix in a few low-80s changeups. I’ve gotta say, these are some interesting pitching matchups this week. Not all of them in a good way either.
ChiSox manager and former Yankees third baseman Robin Ventura just lost closer RHP Matt Lindstrom (4.70 FIP) for several months with a severe ankle injury. I’m not sure who will step into the ninth inning, but it won’t be ex-Mets closer RHP Frank Francisco (9.88 FIP); Dan Hayes says he will be designated for assignment today to clear a roster spot for Sale. RHP Ronald Belisario (2.91 FIP) and LHP Scott Downs (3.46 FIP) have been handling setup duties.
RHP Jake Petricka (3.95 FIP), RHP Zach Putnam (2.91 FIP), RHP Daniel Webb (4.27 FIP), and former Yankee RHP Hector Noesi (4.19 FIP) are also in the bullpen. Noesi has a 6.21 ERA in 162.1 innings since being traded away. I have no idea what happened there. He was pretty good in 2011. Blame the Mariners, I guess. RHP Javy Guerra is Chicago’s roster but has not yet pitched. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of the Yankees’ bullpen, then check out South Side Sox for everything you need to know about the ChiSox.
Pitching Matchups Update: According to Jackson Alexander, Carroll has been moved to the bullpen now that Sale is back. Sale with start tonight, Noesi tomorrow, Danks on Saturday, and Rienzo on Sunday.
But lemme tell you, it was a relief to see a win yesterday after 17 innings of futility against the worst team in the majors. Jay and I talk a bit about the series, and some more about Jeff Samardzija.
The other Chicago team isn’t all that great, but Dave really sheds some light on the positives and what we can look forward to in the series.
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The Yankees were three outs away from being swept (in a two-game series) by the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon, but then the Cubs remembered they’re the Cubs. A ninth inning rally tied the game at two and a 13th inning rally gave New York a 4-2 win. They grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat. That’s always a blast.
I didn’t see Wednesday’s game because it was inconveniently timed, but I did watch the highlights of the game-winning rally, so let me say: Preston Claiborne‘s bunt turned the season around. He moved the runners to second and third with one out in the 13th, eventually allowing Brendan Ryan to score on a wild pitch. Future Cub John Ryan Murphy (probably) singled in an insurance run. Ichiro Suzuki‘s potential double play ball in the ninth led to a Darwin Barney error, which allowed the game-tying run to score. The Yankees were held without an extra-base hit for the first time this season, and they’re the last team to do that.
Chase Whitley allowed just one run in 4.1 innings (71 pitches) before getting yanked, which is something of a problem. The Yankees really need to get some more length out of their starters. Limiting Whitley and Vidal Nuno to 80-ish pitches every fifth day is a good recipe for a worn out bullpen. Anyway, literally every reliever pitched, including five outs apiece for Dellin Betances, Matt Daley, and Claiborne. The relievers combined for a dozen strikeouts in 8.2 innings. It got a little hairy at different times, but they worked through it.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are done with the Cubs but they will remain in Chicago and open a four-game series with the White Sox on Thursday. Chris Sale will unfortunately come off the disabled list to start the series opener while David Phelps get the ball for the Bombers.
This is your open thread for the evening. The Mets are playing, plus there are NBA and NHL playoff games going on. Talk about those games, this afternoon’s game against the Cubs, or anything else right here.
Michael Pineda threw a 30-pitch bullpen session this afternoon and reported no discomfort in his strained back/shoulder, according to Meredith Marakovits. They will determine the next step — either another bullpen session or throwing to hitters — after they see how he feels tomorrow. “I don’t know exactly when the date (for the start of a rehab assignment) is going to be,” said Joe Girardi to Chad Jennings.
Pineda, 25, started a throwing program last week and this was this third bullpen session. Girardi has already said he will need longer than the original 3-4 week rehab time to return to the team, and given their usually conservative approach, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pineda threw another bullpen before facing hitters again. The important thing is that he’s making progress. Pineda went from great story fifth starter to key piece of the rotation in the blink of an eye. · (2) ·